ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said left-hander David Price could return late June or early July after completing rehab work on a left triceps strain.
Maddon, speaking before a game between the Rays and Baltimore Orioles on Saturday at Tropicana Field, offered an update after the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner threw his first bullpen session Friday evening.
“We’re trying to do it as though he is on a five-day rotation,” Maddon said. “Then he’ll come back (after the bullpen session), have a couple days off, and then he’ll come back in a simulated game. Once he gets a simulated game, he’ll be ready to go out and be stretched.”
Maddon said Price will likely face “three rehab assignment starts,” before returning within the estimated late June/early July window. The pitcher has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 16, a day after he sustained the injury in an abbreviated start against the Boston Red Sox.
Price threw 38 pitches from the mound Friday with head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield, pitching coach Jim Hickey and left-hander Matt Moore watching. Price said he “felt good” and that “it is a big step.” He plans to throw again Monday.
“I woke up pretty early this morning,” Price said Friday. “I was excited for it. It was a good day.”
Price has not traveled with the Rays since sustaining the injury. It is the first DL stint of his career.
Before Tampa Bay’s 2-1 victory over Baltimore on Friday, Maddon said he had not talked to Porterfield about the session but knew the trainer was pleased with Price’s progress.
“I know that he has been throwing well,” Maddon said of Price.
Price is 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA in nine starts this season.
“It’s a process,” Price said. “Like Ron continually tells me and explains to everybody else, ‘Whenever David comes back, we want him to stay back.’ … That’s the way they’re looking at it. They want to make sure I’m 100 percent healthy whenever I’m coming back to make sure I’m here so I can go the rest of the season.”